Building a Family (Puppy Love #2)

Title: Puppy Love 2: Building a Family
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Fanny Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M D/s romance
Length: 351 pages
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

Summary Review
This second novel in the Puppy Love series follows Matt and Petey as they continue to adapt to their D/s relationship, leading to some extreme submission scenes but also a lot of character growth for Petey and Matt.

THE BLURB

Matt and Petey are the central characters in Puppy Love. They are a representation of an ideal which few (if any) other BDSM romances dare to present. They are a couple who identify as Dom and sub, not merely as a form of sexual roleplay, but as an innate identity. By nature Matt is dominant. He is decisive and self-confident, and he’s a born leader. Petey, contrarily, is shy and timid. He is submissive by nature and craves the guidance, affection, and control of a man he regards to be of superior status to himself.

Those who have experienced and understood the theme of this story recognize that the Dom/sub relationship presented is not one in which abuse or bullying is tolerated or glorified. The story is about the evolution of two very unique characters, one Master and one sub. Based upon outward appearances, one would regard the couple as being rather mainstream. They are not clad in leather. They have no piercings or outlandish tattoos. They do not engage in torturous or sadistic sex play which involves beatings or wild sexual fetishes.

Matt and Petey are a young gay couple in love. They’re a Dom/sub couple. They’re an Owner and his pup.

Puppy Love Series

THE REVIEW

Those of you who read my review of the first book in this series Puppy Love (reviewed here) will know that I had a very mixed response to that book.  I liked Petey and liked the themes of submission but found some of the extremes of the submission a little hard to handle.  This book continues Matt and Petey’s journey together into the D/s lifestyle and I was keen to discover how this book was going to develop them as characters.  Those of you who may have been put off by the golden showers and other ‘water sports’ in the previous book, will be pleased to know that, whilst it is occasionally mentioned, there isn’t an actual GS scene in the book.

The book picks up a few weeks after the end of the previous book and takes place over the course of about two weeks.  Matt and Petey are on their way back from the cruise that Matt gave Petey for his birthday when they are first on the scene at a serious car accident.  This leads to them befriending one of the EMTs, Eric, who invites them to a party.  At the party they encounter Ryan, who they had met in the previous book, in what had been an embarrassing situation for Petey.  This sets off a chain of events which tests the strength of Petey and Matt’s relationship.

There was much to enjoy about this book, especially in the way that the characters grew and developed over the course of the book.  I was particularly delighted in the character of Matt.  In the previous book I hadn’t liked Matt very much.  He seemed cold and unfeeling in his dominant behaviour over Petey and I found it difficult to understand his motivations in the way that he treated Petey.  In this book, even though it’s still written in the first person from Petey’s point of view, I felt that Matt was a better rounded, more nuanced character.  Instead of just acting dominant, he explained why he was acting as he was.  Also, as his love for Petey grew, so did his gentleness and care for Petey and he became less just the stern master and more the friend and protector of Petey.  Matt also makes a number of errors of judgement which leads to consequences for the couple and again made him seem more human.  By the end of the book, I truly understood why Petey loved him, whereas in the previous book Petey’s love seemed just hero-worship.

Petey too also develops as a character as he begins to learn to stand up for himself.  He’s still a submissive at heart, but I felt he was much less of a doormat in this book as he learns that true submission doesn’t necessarily mean you allow someone to take advantage of you.  I was also pleased to see Petey trying to overcome his tendency to self-flagellate.  It was still there and at times I, as well as the other characters, felt a little cross with him for trying to blame himself for things which were simply not his fault but as Petey naturally tries to take the blame, I could understand why it’s still an important part of his character.  I was also pleased to see the growing friendship between Petey and Drew as they rely on each other more and more with their shared experience of being subs.  Drew has to be one of my favourite characters in the book.  His calm, unruffled exterior and kind heart  is perfect for Petey who tends to panic and over-think problems.

The story itself is structured almost in two halves.  The first half deals with the growth of Matt and Petey’s relationship and contains some strong submission scenes.  I’ve not got the right personality to truly understand why Petey craves submission, however, I still found these interesting and engaging because of the way they affect Petey and therefore his love for Matt.  The second half of the book was tense and nail-biting as Petey and Matt deal with the consequences of some of their actions, both from the previous book and this one.  I was sitting on the edge of my seat for most of this time, anxious to read how it was all going to work out for our heroes.  Take my advice and don’t do what I did and start to read this section just before bedtime.  I sat up until the early hours because I couldn’t bear to put the book down, it was that gripping.  I ran the whole gamut of emotions from being horrified, to dumbstruck, to outraged before I got to the end.

If I have any niggles at all about the book it was in the way that some of the parts were structured.  The book would follow a scene between Matt and Petey and then afterwards Petey would ruminate on what had just happened to him.  Whilst much of this added to Petey’s character development, some of it was almost a straight retelling of the scene that I had just read and it seemed unnecessary.  I found myself skimming over those bits until I got to the heart of what Petey wanted to get out of the situation.  However, this wasn’t bad enough that it detracted too much from my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, Puppy Love 2: Building a Family was a pretty terrific book.  I was drawn into Petey and Matt’s story once again and I’m very much looking forward to the final book in this trilogy.  If you haven’t read the first book because you didn’t want to read some of the more objectionable parts of it, then you could still read this book because all the information from the previous book that you need for this story is recapped in this book.  For those who have read and enjoyed the first book, I highly recommend this sequel.

21 comments

  • I really, really, really wanted to read Puppy Love but couldn’t get the ebook version (Kindle versions not available in Asia). Now there’s Puppy Love 2 and I’m very frustrated!

    Paperback is not even an option for me cos all the mail in the village I live in goes to ONE guy, and we all have to go to his house to get our mail.

    I hope Puppy Love 1 & 2 will be available in other ebook formats one day soon! Thanks for the review, Jenre!

    Reply
    • Oh I know this kind of frustration, Salina! And surely this one “mail guy” shouldn’t get his eyes on (and in) these books…! 😉

      I keep my fingers crossed that the PL books will soon be available in a format of your choice.

      Reply
  • Lilli,
    My friend is Maria, the person who responded above, and I was mistaken about PL being available at amazon.de. It is only Dumb Jock which is available there. However, I then contacted my publisher, who informed me that several people from Europe have inquired about buying their books. They are currently in the process of having their books added to amazon.de. Unfortunately I do not have an ETA as to when this will happen but the quote I received from Fanny Press’ aquisition editor is “this is definitely in the works”. Thank you.
    Jeff Erno

    Reply
    • Jeff,
      thank you for coming back to me with these good news! 🙂 I’ve been patient for quite some time and it won’t be a problem to wait some more now that it is in the works. With a bit of luck, I’ll be able to read all three books in a row… 😉

      Reply
  • My friend in Germany informs me the Puppy Love can be purchased from amazon.de.

    I’m still waiting for Puppy Love 2 paperback edition to “go live” on amazon. It should be any day.

    Reply
    • Jeff, thank you for asking your friend.

      Did your friend or you recently check on amazon.de for yourselves? Because the book can’t be found there.

      I use Amazon regularly for research or the occasional purchase and if Puppy Love had been available I’d own a copy by now.
      The only currently available book of yours is “Dumb Jock”. I’ve been checking amazon.de as well as fr. and .uk on occasion for quite some time now.

      Reply
  • Hi Jenre,
    your review its just great, because although I’m not very into D/s themes what you wrote make me want to read these two books.

    I love to see how characters develope during a story and becoming “the best they could be”… as you can see I’m already addicted to QAF ( B&J shipper here …).

    Reply
  • I loved the first one, although I have Jeff to thank for my new addiction to Queer as Folk ( Ihad never watched it before I read this book. Then I had to run out and buy all 5 seasons.) Anyway, is this one available yet? i checked the publisher and couldn’t find it. I can’t wait to read it. Petey is such a sweetey

    BTW, Jeff, i checked out your website trying to find out where I could buy the book and I love that you posted pics of Petey and Matt. I don’t really have a very artistic mind, so it’s hard for me to picture characters. I love that you showed me what your characters look like.

    Reply
  • Only read the nutshell and the conclusion of your review and skimmed through the rest – that was enough for me to know that I have to read this. (Your review of the first Puppy Love book already won me over. ;)) I somehow expected this to be a 5 star read for you, Jen, and I’m happy it was. 🙂

    Now if I could just buy the books as paperback somewhere in Europe. I’m whining, I know. I haven’t yet contacted the publisher to ask about it. I should do that.

    Reply
      • Jen, omg you made me cry! This review is so meaningful to me. Thank you!

        I think you can buy the books in Europe. I will check right away and let you know. I have a dear friend in Germany who has bought all of my books.

        I totally agree about the ruminating. I almost edited out some of that… and my beta reader all but told me I needed to do so. But I left them in because I just love the way Petey thinks things through. I felt him growing as I was writing his character. He grew so much that he eventually became an entity of his own. I know I sound crazy.

        Anyway, thanks again for the most gracious and kind review. I’m gonna miss you when you go.

        Reply
        • Hi Jeff
          You didn’t listen you your betas? Shame on you! ;).

          Sorry to make you cry, but at least it was in a good way.

          I’m not leaving this site, just my own blog, so you’ll still see plenty of my reviews here.

          Reply
    • Hello Lilly,

      the German friend Jeff is referring to is me, I guess.
      Jeff’s only book you can buy in Germany so far is “Dumb Jock”. It is very worth reading and you can get it by amazon.de in the “Englische Bücher” departement.

      All his other books aren’t published in Germany yet.
      So the only way to get them is buying the e-book or pay the shipping costs, which are expensive. And until now Puppy Love 2 is only available as an e-book at amazon.com (Kindle).

      I’d advice you to google for and download “Kindle for PC” or “Kindle for mac”. It is for free and easy to install. You can read every Kindle book and every ebook of any publisher when you buy the “mobi” or “prc” format.

      Puppy Love 2 is published by fanny press but you are transferred to amazon.com immediately. There you can buy Puppy Love (Paperback and Kindle – edition) and Puppy Love 2 (Only Kindle -Edition) as well as “The Landlord” (Kindle -Edtion).
      The Landlord is also available at eXtasy books, there you can also buy a pdf – format.

      Puppy Love is really a great and enjoyable read, so you should go for it as an e-book. As Puppy Love still isn’t available in Germany I’m afraid it will take some time until you can buy them in Europe – if they will be published here as a paperback book at all.

      I hope I could help you.

      Maria

      Reply
      • Hi Maria,
        thank you very much for providing all these detailed information. 🙂

        I know that “Dumb Jock” is Jeff’s only available book here at the moment. That’s why I was so puzzled when he told me PL should be available. (see my earlier reply below)

        However, I can be stubborn when it comes to books. I really don’t want to read long stories on my PC, so I think I have to keep waiting. Hopefully not for to long. 😉

        Reply

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